- Life Style
The recent death of Khaled Saeed, in which some policemen are allegedly implicated, is difficult not to politicize.
Twenty-eight-year old Khaled Saeed was not a member of any political party or banned group. Nor was he arrested distributing pro-reform leaflets or promoting democratic demands. Saeed was just an ordinary young Egyptian from an upper-middle class family who, like millions of youths his age, had plenty of free time due to unemployment and the lack of opportunities.
It should not come as a surprise that Saeed frequented cafes or that he was tempted to smoke marijuana or hashish. Nevertheless, he was still a citizen with full rights. Even if he was carrying marijuana, he should have been arrested in a way that respects his humanity and safeguards his rights. If he broke the law, he should have been given a fair trial and punished accordingly if proven guilty.
In a state governed by law, security forces are supposed to protect their citizens from any threats. When a supposed guarantor of protection transforms into a killer, fear spreads and people begin using their own means to protect themselves.
At that point, the law of the jungle takes over--a law that does not recognize the rights of the weak or notions of society and public authority.
Herein lies the significance of the Alexandria crime.
If the Interior Minister had launched an investigation into the incident, and sent the suspects to a fair trial, perhaps there would not have been such an outcry. Instead, there was a rush to cover up the incident, which has affirmed two beliefs. First, that this incident represents a pattern of criminal practices by certain security bodies, rather than just an individual act. And second, that security bodies are more inclined to spread fear among the people rather than reassure them of their safety; they are keener on empowering the regime than the people.
There is a collective belief among Egyptians that security bodies who protect killers belong to that very same system which covers up instances of corruption, wasting public funds, negligence, and abuse of power.
People are deeply convinced that this kind of system does not represent them, but rather another segment of society which benefits from such crimes.
The Alexandria crime has added fuel to the current state of political mobilitization and will serve to further strengthen calls for change.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.